Monday, March 2, 2015

Devotion: Jesus Does Not Force Us Out Of Our Boat

More information on “the power of choice.”  Scripture tells us to “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Romans 14:5).  We all must walk our own path, one that no one else can walk for us.  That is exciting and scary all at the same time.  What if I choose the wrong path?  What if the path I choose leads me to a place that I really do not want to be?  How can I know, beyond any shadow of doubt that I am on the right one?  Every day we are faced with choices, a sort of crossroad if you will, where we have to decide to go right, go left, do a u-turn, or simply stay the course by going straight ahead.

Most of us solicit advice from friends and loved ones and we carefully way out the options before deciding which path to take.  But the bottom line is, regardless of the influences in our life, we choose our own paths in life.  This makes us totally responsible for the choices we make and the consequences that go along those choices, be they good or be they bad.  Life is all about our choices and the consequences that follow.  Think about judgment day when“each of us will stand personally before the judgment seat of God” (Romans 14:10).  How do you think you will be judged?  Do you think you will be judged based on the things that you have done and the choices that you have made?  Or do you think you will be allowed to pawn those choices off on another?  No, we will not be able to pawn our choices off on anyone else, not even God.  “Each person will have to give an account of himself to God”(Romans 14:12).

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a road map that would help us to choose the right paths for the best results?  But we do.  God has provided us with a road map for that very purpose.  This road map is given to us “to tell us what to believe (for doctrine), what is wrong (for reproof), how to correct wrong (for correction), how to live (for instruction in righteousness).”  We are to rely on it because “it contains everything we need to grow in maturity, to be perfect (meaning proficient or capable), and to do what God wants” (II Timothy 3:16-17).  And if we carefully adhere to this roadmap, “we will make our way prosperous and we will have good success” (Joshua 1:8).  But once again, it comes down to choice, your choice.  You can choose “to accept the free gifts of grace (forgiveness) and righteousness (acquittal) that Jesus provided for us (Romans 5:15-19), “this gift of salvation” (Romans 10:9-10), which leads “to life everlasting” (John 3:16-17) or you can chose an entirely different path.  The beauty of choice is that you get to make it.

“Immediately after this, Jesus told his disciples to get into their boat and cross to the other side of the lake while he stayed to get the people started home.  Then afterwards he went up into the hills to pray. Night fell, and out on the lake the disciples were in trouble. For the wind had risen and they were fighting heavy seas.  About four o’clock in the morning Jesus came to them, walking on the water!  They screamed in terror, for they thought he was a ghost.  But Jesus immediately spoke to them, reassuring them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said.  Then Peter called to him: ‘Sir, if it is really you, tell me to come over to you, walking on the water.’ ‘All right,’the Lord said, ‘come along!’  So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.  But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted.  Instantly Jesus reached out his hand and rescued him. ‘O man of little faith,’ Jesus said. ‘Why did you doubt me?’  And when they had climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.  The others sat there, awestruck. ‘You really are the Son of God!’ they exclaimed” (Matthew 14:22-33).

Most of you are familiar with the story of Jesus walking on the water.  But here is a little something that you may not have thought about.  Even though Peter asked Jesus to bid him to come to him on the water and Jesus did bid Peter to come, Jesus did not do anything to force Peter out of the boat. Peter choose to step out of the boat of his own accord.  And if you did not notice, it was the same with his faith. When Peter stepped out of the boat, his faith was, “strong, completely maxed out.”  Who among you have faith strong enough to step out of a boat and then expect to walk on water?  Somewhere along the way, Peter chose to allow his faith to wane and that was when he “began to sink.”  The beauty of choice is what he got to make.

God has given you the power or authority to choose and with that power comes the responsibility for the consequences that accompany those choices.  We hope today’s message will get you out of that comfort zone and help you realize that God has so much more planned for us in this life than we could ever imagine.  But in order for us to discover these wonderful things, we must first find the roadmap that God has provided for us; it has the ability to change our lives, if we choose to adhere to it.  If this message is a blessing to you, please share it so that others may be blessed by it as well.

Enjoy your blessings - KW

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